I received an email from someone a few days ago asking whether to eat before bedtime and whether it will effect their fat loss efforts. In this article I’d like to clarify my opinion on eating before sleeping and give a few examples of what to eat before bed.
Let me begin by reassuring you that there are NO conclusive studies that have shown that eating before sleeping causes weight gain – it won’t hamper your weight loss progress. What will affect your weight loss efforts is eating more calories than you need over the course of a day. So, if you are piling on extra calories before you go to bed then of course you will gain weight!
To sum this point up I will quote the dietician Dr Trent Watson who says: “It’s the total energy you eat throughout the day that’s important. You can eat all your daily kilojoules after 6pm, and you won’t gain any more weight than if you ate it earlier in the day. Weight gain occurs when you consume more energy than you expend.”
So what foods should you eat before sleeping?
Well as I always suggest; you should be eating a portion of vegetables and a portion of lean protein with every meal and that advice is no different when you are deciding what to eat before bed. My opinion is that you should be eating every 2-3 hours so if you are due another meal then make sure you take it ensuring you stay within your maintenance level of calories.
If you do decide to eat before you sleep then you should definitely be avoiding spicy, fatty foods and caffeine drinks – these can reduce the quality of your sleep, lead to heartburn and make you feel sluggish and fatigued when you wake up. Foods with a high fat content a the biggest no-no – they slow down digestion and help exacerbate indigestion.
Alcohol is also out – it may promote sleep but it commonly leads to awakening a few hours later, it also inhibits the body’s natural fat burning response and causes dehydration. With that being said you may want to know which food you can eat before going to bed? I’ll share my advice on that now…
Here are a few examples of good food you can eat before going to bed:
- Cottage cheese
- Protein supplement (ideally casein protein for slow absorption)
- Chicken or Turkey breast
- Skimmed milk
- Low fat yogurt
- Flaxseed oil
In addition to these foods pretty much any fibrous vegetable would be a good choice as well as fresh fruits.
Water is also essential to stock up on before bedtime just don’t go overboard or else you will be visiting the bathroom all night! A glass of cold water is ideal and helps keep your body hydrated through the night.
So remember eating before bedtime is not the problem – it’s what you eat and how much you have eaten throughout the day. Make sure you choose the right kind of weight loss diet plan and follow the advice I have offered here – don’t fall for all the mythical eating before sleeping claims that many weight loss guru’s tell you. You know exactly what to eat before bed now.
Control your Bedtime Appetite
If you do find your self losing the battle and over snacking before bed you could try one of the popular appetite control pills such as Nuratrim or UniqueHoodia. Both will help you to feel full and resist the urge of eating at bedtime but Nuratrim does contain Green Coffee and Capsicum designed to burn calories so might keep you awake. Take a look at this UniqueHoodia review for more information.